Hooking Sensory Percussion Up to Superior Drummer 3
A title image showing Sensory Percussion controlling Superior Drummer 3

A lot of folks have asked if Sensory Percussion can be a controller for Superior Drummer 3 (spoiler alert: it can!). It's no wonder, with SD3's gigantic acoustic drum library and Sensory Percussion's ability to convert your drums into an extremely powerful controller of digital sound (including - but not at all limited to - MIDI), it's a great idea to explore some of the mapping possibilities.

This article is a step-by-step guide to help you send MIDI from Sensory Percussion to SD3 (and other music apps/VSTs). It also includes a template of some useful MIDI Mappings from Sensory Percussion to SD3, as well as a combination of those mappings with some Lunar Cities Presets.

Click Here to Download the Template!


To send MIDI from Sensory Percussion to other music applications, you need to create an internal MIDI bus that acts as virtual MIDI cables between programs on your computer.

To do this on a Mac:

  1. Open up Audio MIDI Setup.app (it is located in your Applications/Utilities folder). A screenshot focused on the IAC Driver Icon

  2. Click Show MIDI Studio under Window in the top menu. a screenshot of the top menu, displaying Show MIDI Studio after Window has been selected

  3. In the window that appears, double click on the IAC Driver Icon to reveal another window.

In that new window click the “+” button to add ports. You'll only need one port to connect Sensory and SD3, but if you are planning on sending/receiving MIDI to/from more applications with Sensory Percussion in the future you may want to create a few more ports. A picture of the IAC Driver Properties Window where you can add or subtract ports

If you're on a Windows machine, download and install an application like MIDI Yoke and follow the instructions detailed on the site to set it up.

Once you have created an internal MIDI bus, select it as an Active MIDI output for Sensory Percussion in the Audio Settings Panel and a MIDI Device in SD3.

A screenshot of the I/O settings in Sensory Percussion with IAC Bus 1 selected as the MIDI output
Select the internal bus as the active MIDI output of Sensory Percussion
A screenshot of the I/O settings in SD3 with IAC bus 1 selected as the MIDI device
Select the internal bus as the MIDI device for Superior Drummer 3

Now you're ready to explore the template mappings! Just make sure SD3 is set to receive MIDI from Any Channel or Channel 1 - the kits in the template are setup to send MIDI over channel 1.

The first kit is named Just Drums. It is logically mapped to control only drum sounds in SD3:

Sensory Percussion Drum ChannelSensory Percussion Zone/sMIDI NoteSD3 Sound
1CenterD1Snare Center
1Edge/DampedA0Snare Edge
1Rimshot Center/Rimshot EdgeE1Snare Rimshot Center
1Rim tip/rim shoulder/stickshot/shellB3Snare Rim
1Cross-stickC#1Snare Sidestick
2Center/Edge/DampedC2Rack Tom 1 Center
2Rimshot Center/Rimshot EdgeA#4Rack Tom 1 Rimshot
2Rim tip/rim shoulder/stickshot/cross-stick/shellA4Rack Tom 1 Rim
3Center/Edge/DampedG1Floor Tom 1 Center
3Rimshot Center/Rimshot EdgeD#4Floor Tom 1 Rimshot
3Rim tip/rim shoulder/stickshot/cross-stick/shellD4Floor Tom 1 Rim
4Closed/OpenC1Kick Open
4Rim tip/rim shoulder/hardware/shellC#1Snare Sidestick
An edited screenshot showing arrows from the MIDI panel of Sensory Percussion to the MIDI In/E-drums Panel of Sd3
Some of the mappings from the Just Drums kit

The kit called “Drums and Cymbals” has the same kick and snare mappings, but Sensory Drums 2 and 3 are no longer Rack and Floor Tom mappings, they are now Hi-Hat and Cymbal mappings. A rimshot on Drum 2 will trigger an open hi-hat in SD3, while playing on the head of the drum will trigger tight sounds. A Rimshot on Drum 3 will trigger a cymbal crash, while other zones trigger stick-tip-on-bow/bell sounds.

The third and final template kit is called “Cymbals on Rims” - It is modelled after the first template kit (Just Drums), but there are cymbal sounds mapped to the rims. The snare mapping has a crash hit on the rim, the rack mapping has a hi-hat, the floor tom has a ride cymbal, while the kick mapping has a bell.

Parameters to explore in SD3

Check out the Velocity Curves on each drum to alter the playing feel of SD3: A screenshot of the velocity curve parameter in SD3 with the default linear setting

It also might be worth experimenting with the Hit Variation settings, as well as settings in the Mixer!:

A screenshot of the hit variation parameters in SD3
Hit variation parameters in SD3
A screenshot of the mixer in SD3
The mixer in SD3 without any effects added.

Copy/Paste only MIDI

You can, of course, navigate to the set in the User Library panel and drag/drop the individual drums of any of these into a new kit:

A screenshot of the Sensory Percussion software marked with arrows demonstrating that you can drag previously made indiviual drums into your current kit
You can double click on a kit in the user library to reveal its individual drums, then you can drag those drums onto the channels of your current kit

And you can also paste the midi mappings over kits you have made in Sensory Percussion, this will allow you to intricately manipulate electronic sounds in Sensory Percussion, with the classic acoustic drum sounds of SD3 layered underneath. You do this by right clicking on the kit manager:

A screenshot of the paste only MIDI feature in Sensory Percussion
Pasting just the MIDI from Just Drums onto bubbleWave

We did a version of this in the included template. Kits 5 - 8 in the set are Lunar Cities kits with the logical SD3 MIDI mappings pasted over them. To check out those kits, make sure you have downloaded Lunar Cities - free for all Sensory Percussion users.

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